Washington: India has emerged as the third-largest purchaser of US arms with contracts worth $4.5 billion last year even as US sales of defence equipment went up to $34.8 billion in fiscal 2011, according to a Pentagon report.
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the Pentagon agency that oversees foreign arms sales, confirmed sales in the fiscal ending 30 Sep were up at $34.8 billion.
Defence sales topped $30 billion for the fourth consecutive year after reaching $31.6 billion in fiscal 2010.
Afghanistan, Taiwan, India, Australia and Saudi Arabia were the top buyers of US arms last year, the Defence Department said.
Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Japan and Sweden were the next largest buyers.
The top 10 foreign military sales (FMS) customers for fiscal 2011 were the Afghan Security Forces ($5.4 billion); Taiwan ($4.9 billion); India ($4.5 billion); Australia ($3.9 billion); Saudi Arabia ($3.5 billion); Iraq ($2.0 billion); the United Arab Emirates ($1.5 billion); Israel ($1.4 billion); Japan ($0.5 billion) and Sweden ($0.5 billion).
The DSCA said it expected foreign military sales to once again average $30 billion for fiscal 2012, but official projections were still being calculated.